THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
17 November 2019
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Today's Gospel presents us with two miracles the curing of the woman with an issue of blood, and the raising of the ruler's dead daughter back to life. Today we put forth a lot of effort and resources to cure the many ailments that assail us and to hold onto this life as long as possible. The attitude of the saints appears to be the exact opposite.
The saints, with their eyes lifted to Heaven, longed for the day that they could be with Jesus. The dissolution of their bodies was a welcome friend to carry them out of this world and into the next world. Sickness and death are not the dreaded foe but are our dearest friends if we are eager for eternal life.
Long life is a blessing if it is lived well, but becomes burdensome if we heap sin upon sin. It is truly, the diseases of the soul and the death of the soul that we should focus our attention upon. It does not take long for us to realize that time is passing and we cannot go back. We must ever march forward. Lives that are lived in sin cannot be undone that time is lost or wasted. The time that we live in grace and virtue is time well spent even if we must suffer the most agonizing bodily infirmities. God often gives us long lives to give us second chances. Frequently, long lives are our time of purgation. In failing health and waning strength we are permitted to join our sufferings with the suffering of Jesus on Calvary, and repair the evil that we previously committed. These offerings of more opportunity for sacrifice should be welcomed nor fought against or cursed.
We should long for death so that we can go to Heaven and be with Jesus, but we must not long for death to escape the present suffering that God has given us. To take away our own lives through suicide is a terrible crime. We should remember that murder is sinful even if we call it euthanasia (mercy killing). It is God who gives life and it is God who takes life. In attempting to take the privilege of ending our mortal lives, we are attempting to rob God of His right, or we are trying to make ourselves gods just as Lucifer did before he was cast into Hell.
God has made everything and all that God has made is good. We often, cannot see this or appreciate it, but we must believe it. Sickness, disabilities, and old age, are all gifts from God. If we look at these things from the perspective of eternity (spiritually) we see that these things draw us ever closer to our true lives. We should recall that Job blessed, praised, and thanked God in all things but, especially when he was given painful crosses and burdens. We should strive to do the same in our own lives.
It is good for us to take care of our lives here on earth and we are even commanded to do so. Our mortal lives are precious gifts from God and should not be wasted or deliberately destroyed. We can and should pray to God for relief of our physical ailments, but we need to recall Jesus in His prayer "Not My Will but Thine be done." We should use the best of our abilities to take care of nurture and heal our bodies, then place the rest in the Hands of God do with me what You will.
If it is God's will that we suffer in this life, we need not question God but thank Him. However, it is good to reflect that in suffering we draw even closer to the life of Jesus. His true disciples must deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Him. If we can look back upon our past life and see that we have not lived as well as we should have, we can welcome our present suffering as an opportunity of purgation to atone for our past transgressions and hopefully spare our soul eternal suffering in Hell or temporal punishment in Purgatory. Or we may be given this opportunity to offer sacrifice for others. Our present pains, willingly embraced, are of great value in releasing the souls in Purgatory from their sufferings. Love also directs us to offer our physical crosses for the spiritual welfare of others like the conversion of sinners. In all these things, we can and should desire the greater honor and glory of God, the salvation of souls (ours as well as others).
When we have tried all the natural means that have been provided to us, we may seek from God a miraculous cure of our bodies, but we should also be of the mind that if it is His Holy Will that we bear this cross, we will willingly and cheerfully embrace it not my will but Thine be done.
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